Here’s the set-up:
The entire universe is represented by an organization called The Refined League. Arts are the major driving force and each member of the league jointly owns any work of art created. Most forms are highly regarded. There’s only one art form that not a single alien race performs well: music.
When they tap into transmissions from Earth, the first is a first run episode of WELCOME BACK, KOTTER and the theme song sends them into frenzied ecstasy. They soon discover shows such as WHAT’S HAPPENING, SANFORD AND SON, and other comedies of the period.
And then they discovered popular music, rock music, heavy metal(boy did they love that). It soon becomes the most popular in the universe. It’s so popular that they even name heavy elements after famous bands, Metallicum, Van Helium, and Ironmaidium are a few examples.
Their love got so bad that The Townsend Line was established around Earth’s system, a force field with a radius of 144 light years. That’s was to keep literally billions of Who fans that wanted to come to Earth to catch a concert.
Lawyer Nick Carter is visited in his offices by two aliens, Carly and Frampton, dressed as a nun and an Arabic mullah, who claim to be aliens. They soon convince him and claim to want to purchase the rights to all human music ever created and that ever will be. Carter works for a law firm that specializes in patent and copyright laws. They think he’s the carter that’s a senior partner, no relation, and they also think he’s the Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys.
You see, the Refined League has one immutable law on their books. All rights to an art form must conform to the originating species’s own laws, no exceptions, and just nine days ago, they discovered they owed earth a lot of money. Metallica had led the charge against illegal downloading years back and gotten judgments of $150,000 for each download.
Think about this. There are four hundred billion galaxies in the universe and each one has an average of twenty five races that are members of The Refined League. Each of those races has eighty billion people and each of those, all of them, have 25,000,000 Earth songs in their personal space at all times.
Think about that. Best estimates says that includes all known wealth and all that will ever be.
And some groups are not happy about that. A plan is afoot that will cause Earth to destroy itself. Metallicum is a highly unstable heavy metal that can the the greatest free power source in th universe. Also the worst weapon. If the Guild can get Earth to do themselves in, they can avoid the Guardians, thus absolving the debt.
These aliens travel around by folding space, they call it wrinkling. When Nick Makes his first trip through a wrinkle, he only moves eighty feet in space, but eighty-eight billion light years across space.
The race to save earth, and satisfy the debt, is on.
Funny, I enjoyed this one tremendously. One blurb compared it to THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE. Don’t know that I would go that far, but it’s pretty good. The link is here.